Polyamine involvement in the secretion and action of TGF-α in hormone sensitive human breast cancer cells in culture

Inkyo Kim, Andrea Manni, James Lynch, Laurence Demers

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11 Scopus citations


These experiments were designed to test polyamine (PA)* involvement in the secretion and action of transforming growth factor α (TGF-α) in hormone responsive MCF-7 breast cancer cells in liquid culture. At the same time, we evaluated the influence of culture conditions (with serum vs. serum depleted) and subclonality of MCF-7 cells on PA involvement in estrogen (E2) and TGF-α stimulated cell proliferation. Despite inducing a profound suppression of cellular PA levels and inhibiting basal and E2-stimulated growth, administration of the PA synthesis inhibitor α-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) did not influence either basal or E2-induced TGF-α secretion. In the same experiments, on the other hand, addition of DFMO completely blocked the growth stimulatory effect of exogenous TGF-α. However, when the culture conditions were changed to serum-free medium, TGF-α and E2-induced cell proliferation was affected modestly or not at all by DFMO administration, despite similar suppression of cellular ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity and PA levels. In addition, different clones of MCF-7 cells differed in their sensitivity to the antiproliferative effect of DFMO as well as in basal levels of ODC activity and PA. We conclude that PAs are not involved in basal or E2-stimulated TGF-α secretion in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. On the other hand, PAs do seem to be important mediators of TGF-α and E2-induced breast cancer cell proliferation, though the degree of such involvement appears to be influenced by serum factors and clonal variability of MCF-7 cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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